When the Seahawks drafted James Carpenter in the first round of the draft this past April, there was a lot of criticism for the pick. All that criticism really boiled down the 3 points:
- He wasn’t a QB
- The talking heads thought Gabe Carimi was a better prospect at tackle and was still available.
- Carpenter might be a better fit a Guard.
I’ve already posted my thoughts on #1. So I wont waste more time on that here. #2 and #3 are related. I believe that if there wasn’t all the talk about Carpenter moving to G, then he likely would have been rated higher than Carimi. Carimi was more a finesse blocker and didn’t show the same power in the running game that Carpenter did in college, but Carpenter’s lateral quickness in pass protection protection was a huge question mark.
It was the questions about his lateral quickness that led to Carpenter being moved to guard at the Senior Bowl. Yet even though he was impressive at guard against the other collegiate all-stars, the Seahawks drafted him to play tackle. It was believed that his pass blocking skills would improve with time and coaching.
Yesterday, Pete Carroll mentioned in his press conference that Carpenter was working out at left guard, in replace of the injured Robert Gallery, instead of his usual right tackle position. Carroll tried to play this off as just an exercise to develop flexibility and to reward backup tackle Breno Giacomini, letting him get some reps with the first team.
I simply don’t buy that. Carpenter hasn’t looked good pass blocking at all so far, and he’s really new to this offense, and to playing right tackle. Carpenter can’t afford to be giving up any reps in practice at this point. There just isn’t enough reps as it is for him to be ready for this Sunday’s game as it is.
The problems with Carpenter’s lateral quickness are real, and aren’t going to go away. It is very possible that his future in this league is at guard and not tackle If that’s true, I could see the Seahawks making that move sooner rather than later. I can see Carpenter being a truly dominant guard.
The problem with this, though, is that he was drafted to be a tackle. The Seahawks also draft a starting caliber guard in John Moffitt and signed Gallery to play the other guard position. Giving up on Carpenter as a tackle means the Seahawks acquired 3 starting guards for 2 spots during this off-season, and are still in need of a starting tackle.